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It was the most expensive barbecue in all history, writes Berlin’s Tageszeitung today about a fete arranged by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for George W. Bush and his entourage in 2006.
On a warm summer evening four years ago, helicopters set down on the Trinwillershagen athletic field and one of the most powerful men of the world walked into the little village with 700 inhabitants. Chancellor Angela Merkel had invited George W. Bush to her home electoral district in Western Pomerania—she planned to offer him a hearty meal of barbecued wild boar and to send the world many harmonious photographs of the gathering. But hardly had the proprietor of the Gasthof zu den Linden removed the boar meat from the skewers when a controversy began in Germany about this “most expensive barbecue in history.” The event did not bring only politicians to Merkel’s constituency. A force of 12,225 policemen from throughout Germany were also deployed to provide security for the state visitors in the region between Rostock and Stralsund.
Who footed the bill? The taxpayers, of course. An administrative court is now dealing with a request for information on the total bill for the event. The security bill alone seems to amount to €5.7 million, while the total approaches €8.7 million ($11 million). And this doesn’t include any of the costs absorbed by the American taxpayers, who of course paid for the small army of Secret Service agents also deployed to the event. The national security state hardly pauses a second over a decision to drop $11 million for a nice barbeque. Security, of course, forms the main course.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”